Ronnie O’Sullivan had trial with Tottenham but was only ‘chubby kid there’

Ronnie O’Sullivan makes history with EIGHTH UK Championship

When it comes to snooker Ronnie O’Sullivan has no equal but before the 48-year-old became world No. 1 he was trying his hand at all different kinds of sports. Last weekend the seven-time world champion won the UK Championship for a record eighth time after he defeated Ding Junhui 10-7 in the York final.

The victory arrived 30 years after O’Sullivan’s first UK Championship triumph when he became the youngest player ever to lift the title at the age of 17.

It means that his phenomenal success in snooker’s triple crown events goes on. The Wordsley-born star has now won a tally of 22 trophies across the Masters, UK and World Championships, four ahead of Stephen Hendry.

But despite holding almost every major record in the game, a snooker career was not a certainty when he was growing up.

As he explained in an interview with BBC Sport, he tried his hand at several different sports and even managed to get himself a trial at Tottenham Hotspur, but it soon became apparent that he had little chance of succeeding in what was an ultra-competitive environment.

Looking at photographs of himself posing with junior awards, O’Sullivan said: “There are all my little trophies that I was winning as an amateur. I played many different sports: Tennis, golf, football. My dad used to be a footballer and he said ‘Let me ring up this fella.’ He said ‘He’s down Tottenham now.’ He said ‘I’ll get you a training session.’

“I wasn’t really good enough. I only went for one session. It was a bit too intimidating for me. I was like the only chubby kid there. So yeah, I just got myself back down the snooker hall.”

O’Sullivan’s decision to stick with snooker clearly paid off as he has gone on to become the most successful player of modern times. Currently world No. 1 for the fifth time, he has recorded 1,230 century breaks across his career including 15 maximums.

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His seven world titles are level with Hendry but with the Scot now retired O’Sullivan will still have the chance to move out on his own.

Speaking after his UK Championship victory over Junhui, O’Sullivan told BBC Sport: “Each tournament I win and play in, I take great pleasure from. I had to come out and have a good head. There was a big crowd and I wanted to leave blood, sweat and tears on the table. I came out and gave it my all and I love competing.

“I always keep beating myself up because of the age thing. I keep thinking at some point you have to stop winning but I am doing all right and I will keep on going until the wheels fall off.”

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